Many plan sponsors do not realized the importance of participant engagement. A strong participant program can dramatically influence plan participation, employee deferral rates, and even overall employee financial health. Employers who provide financial education to employees are taking steps to improve employees’ lives and even the business as a whole.
In fact, financial education could help save up to $2,000 per employee annually through increased productivity, reduced health care costs, and better utilization of employee benefits.2
Research and analysis indicates a 3:1 return on employer investment in education.3
There are several different types of participant engagements:
· Self-serve. Most often delivered via website or web portal, a self-service model relies on the activism of the employee to seek information and make smart financial decisions.
· Participant Education. Usually consists of information that is pushed out to participants to encourage participation and a path toward retirement readiness. Common delivery mechanisms include: group meetings, webinars, e-newsletters, etc.
· Financial Wellness Programs. Financial wellness program take participant education to the next level by expanding the scope to include financial topics such as budgeting, purchasing, saving for college, etc. Financial programs vary and range from informational-only programs to coaching programs.
· Financial Advice. Advisory programs take participant support to the next level by giving employees one-on-one access to a financial advisor.
The Six8 Approach: We actively manage the participant engagement for most of our clients. We find that our independence and objectivity gives us a voice for participants apart from their employer. Simply put, employees tend to interact with us and open up with us about their financial conditions and concerns a little more than their employer.
We offer two levels of service for participant engagement:
1) Participant Education: We coordinate content delivery, conduct webinars and speak at the group meetings. Participants contact us for questions and support regarding the retirement plan.
2) Advice@Work: Our Advice@Work (“A@W”) program steps beyond education and gives employees one-on-one access to a Six8 Advisor for an annual review, plus phone access throughout the year. One-on-one sessions can be conducted onsite, over the phone, or by video conference. A typical A@W session includes our proprietary financial health assessment and a personalized retirement savings plan. Our goal is to raise awareness for common financial health issues such as emergency savings, budgeting, and overall financial discipline, while giving participating employees a chance to talk with a real live human.
1,2 National Institute on Retirement Security – The Retirement Crisis: “Is it Worse Than We Think? June 2013 2,3 Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation (PFEEF)